|Population||Less than 300 breeding pairs|
The Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) is a rare bird native to several islands of the Philippines archipelago, and is the national emblem of that country. Among the largest and most powerful of eagles, the Philippine eagle has suffered in recent decades due to loss of habitat and hunting.
The Philippine eagle female is approximately 3.3 feet long from beak to tail tip, with some specimens in museums a few inches longer. Its wingspan is from 6 to 6.5 feet, and it weighs up to 18 pounds. Males are about 10% smaller.
It is colored a dark, chocolate brown above, with its wing feathers tinged in a pale cream; below the eagle is mainly white. The head and top of the neck is adorned with a brown-streaked crest, giving the bird a regal appearance when erect, and possibly inspiring the Tagalog name "Haring Ibon" ("bird king"). The beak is deep, laterally-compressed and massive. It is also blue-gray in color, the only eagle to have this distinction.
The Philippine eagle feeds upon a variety of animals: snakes and lizards; birds; flying lemurs; palm civets; and the occasional domestic dog; it has been known to get any animal it could kill when the opportunity presents. Monkeys are also part of the diet, when and where the eagle can get them; in fact, when the Philippine eagle was first made known to western science in the late-1800s, the researchers were told by the natives that it fed exclusively on monkeys alone, hence its scientific name of Pithecophaga, Latin for "eater of monkeys". Until a presidential decree in 1978 officially changing its name, it was previously known - rather inaccurately as well as disrespectfully - as the monkey-eating eagle.
Phillipine eagle pairs mate for life, and only mate with another when a partner dies. A single egg is laid in a large nest constructed in a treetop, and is incubated for about 60 days. The nesting period can last nearly four months, as both parents take turns feeding the chick, which won't begin to fend for itself until at least its fourth month after leaving the nest. The eagle has been known to live up to 40 years in captivity.
The Philippine eagle is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN Red List; the four islands which still support populations of these eagles (Luzon, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao) report approximately 300 breeding pairs, with the bulk of the pairs on Mindanao (82-233 pairs). Deforestation continues to occur within these islands, reducing the bird's range and food availability. Sporadic hunting has also taken a toll, despite laws on the books resulting in heavy fines and long prison sentences for killing one.